HP slashes TouchPad price

HP TouchPad will cost $100 less in Australia, following US price cuts of the tablet

HP has today announced that it has cut the pricing of its TouchPad tablet, just four days before its official launch in Australia.

Read our comprehensive HP TouchPad review and check out our hands-on with the HP TouchPad slideshow.

Originally announced with a price tag of $599 for the 16GB model, and $699 for the 32GB model, HP has cut $100 off both models, just four days before the official launch in Australia on Monday 15 August.

"HP continually evaluates pricing for its products and is pleased to offer a permanently reduced price on the HP TouchPad products effective immediately," said a HP statement today. "This move will help bring the HP TouchPad and webOS to a larger audience, benefitting consumers and developers."

"The permanent pricing action on the HP TouchPad is effective immediately in all consumer and commercial channels in Australia and supersedes previous pricing."

The HP TouchPad tablet has a 9.7in touchscreen with the same 1024x768 screen resolution as the iPad 2, but runs the Palm-developed webOS operating system. HP acquired struggling Palm for US$1.2 billion in July 2010, and the TouchPad tablet is the first of a suite of webOS products promised by the company.

Both models of the TouchPad are Wi-Fi-only devices and they will be sold through retailer Harvey Norman. A Wi-Fi + 3G version of the TouchPad is set to launch in the US later in the year, but HP said it was "not in a position to talk about dates, but it would make sense at some point to introduce that device".

HP has slated the TouchPad's webOS operating system as a key differentiator in a crowded tablet market. It claims the TouchPad's "cards" system, a unique way of swiping through multiple open applications, makes it easy for users to multitask. Other webOS-specific features of the HP TouchPad include a pop-up notification system, built-in Skype support, and HP Synergy, which groups contacts and cloud based services from multiple sources in single applications. The HP TouchPad tablet also handles wireless printing and will synchronise with Google Docs, QuickOffice, Dropbox and Box.net.

The HP TouchPad is powered by a dual core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, and has a front facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video recording, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and stereo speakers, but no rear camera. The company will also sell an inductive "Touchstone" charger and stand for $89, which will charge the tablet wirelessly.

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Ross Catanzariti

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